Submitted by his wife
This is a tribute to my husband‚ Deputy Chief Donald Maurice‚ who answered his last call on April 8‚ 2003‚ in the line of duty. His long and timeless devotion to the Wolcott Volunteer Fire Department Co. #1 will long be remembered.
Donald had been a member since 1972 and Deputy Chief for eleven and a half years‚ and was known throughout the Litchfield and New Haven counties as a dedicated firefighter. Donald was credited with rescuing two people during a raging fire. There was no doubt his bravery had saved the lives of the people he brought from the burning building.
Donald committed himself to many community services: Special Olympics Opening Ceremonies‚ LEPC‚ Fire Prevention Week at his school – just to name a few of his passions.
Donald‚ an avid fisherman‚ would fish for hours. He was always looking to catch the big one‚ and no doubt would have done so. NASCAR‚ another favorite sport he loved‚ would leave him glued to the TV rooting for his favorite driver. This was his time to relax unless duty called.
Donald‚ a good cook‚ would always volunteer to cook for his colleagues. Especially at the annual firehouse roast beef dinner which is always a successful fundraiser.
Donald’s fire truck W4 was his pride and joy. Many hours would be spent with his members to make sure his truck looked good; nothing out of place‚ polished and ready to appear in the parades to receive that special trophy. And they did just that. Then one parade overall‚ Wolcott had the best appearing fire apparatus. Many trophies decorate Co. #1 firehouse with everyone’s hard work and dedication. Whether in 1st or 2nd place‚ they were all proud. Yes‚ we did party. Our yard behind the firehouse was the party place. Firemen and friends all partied for everyone’s hard work. And Donald‚ proud as he could be‚ enjoyed the moment.
Donald was such a prankster. Whether scaring you or joking with you he always knew what to do to get you going. It came so naturally to him. This is the best story ever:
Tyrrell School‚ where Donald was employed‚ invented Evelyn and Elvis Elf. You know who the elf was. We made cookies for weeks. Donald would leave cookies‚ candy canes‚ popcorn tins‚ and written messages on the blackboards for the kids. The kids were mesmerized. Then the night of the school play‚ Donald would make objects move and lights flicker and the kids knew something was up. But the school play went on. It went as far as an alarm going off at the school at 3:00 a.m. Of course‚ Donald was called in. The officer saw nothing and nothing was found. Donald tells a different story‚ ‘I saw him. A little green guy‚ with pointy green ears‚ pointed nose‚ light green jacket‚ green pants‚ and green and white shoes. He was running so fast I couldn’t catch him. I don’t know where he’s hiding. I’ve searched the whole building.’ Donald found more elf letters and pictures clogged the classrooms as the kids left every afternoon. Many messy desks were cleaned up overnight with a note praising the kids on their singing appearing in each classroom – and‚ of course‚ more treats. The principal‚ teachers‚ and parents thought this was just great that Donald would go to these lengths to motivate the kids to write and draw as a great learning tool to express themselves. Elf encounters remain rare‚ though there were signs everywhere. Articles were written in the Waterbury paper about Mr. and Mrs. Elf. Donald’s response‚ ‘Thank you for all the nice letters‚ pictures and all the treats‚ but Evelyn and I must go help Santa. So I guess this is goodbye for now. By the way‚ I heard the newspaper found out about me‚ but they will never find me.’ – Elvis
Halloween was a blast. You would never know what Donald would dress up as. From Dracula to whatever he would get out of his closet. His imagination was endless. The house would also be decorated which made the kids come from all over to see Donald’s costumes and his special treats. Kids looked forward to our house every year. At Christmas Donald was Santa – not only for the firehouse‚ but especially for his niece‚ Michelle‚ and nephew‚ Robert. They never knew! Donald touched the lives of so many people. From his family‚ many friends and most especially my mom‚ who you helped me take care of no matter what. Whether at your house or hers‚ you were always there. She does miss you.
Donald’s faithful companion‚ besides myself‚ would be his dog Prince. Prince would always be with him no matter what. Going for rides‚ visiting his dad‚ Prince was a part of him. To this day‚ when Prince hears a truck‚ or the fire alarm goes off‚ Prince runs to the door‚ sits and waits for Donald to come home.
Your firemen from Co. #1 have donated your brick this year at the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend in October of 2004. Your firemen from Co. #1 also donated your brick at the fire school in Windsor Locks‚ Connecticut.
It’s been a year since you left me‚ and my life will never be the same since that April morning.
Donald‚ you roared like a lion‚
but were gentle as a lamb.
I love you babe‚
Always and forever.
Love only touches you once‚
And it never goes away.
The 100 Club has been taking good care of me. Remembering me every holiday because of you. Also‚ all your members at Co. #1 will be there for whatever I need. All I need is just to ask.